The Wind-Up Birds: Sympathy, Envy and Sludge Metal

For every band that I meet and feel immediate envy towards their life of gigs, girls and going places, there’s another in comparison to whom I feel nothing but relief.

It’s tough being in a band (especially if you’re U2 and having to play flaccid MOR to a crowd of trainee solicitors every night). Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But the bands that have it toughest are the ones who cut their own furrow, or go against the grain, or simply do what isn’t considered right.

Taking your own, difficult path doesn’t necessarily mean that a band needs to  produce a bizarro German sludge-metal/turbo-punk-folk hybrid.  Apparently, you just need to sing sullen songs in your own accent. Today’s band I envy and sympathise with.

The Wind-Up Birds don’t care. They don’t, really. Because if they did, they’d have listened to insidious ‘cool’ voices, who would tell them that their songs could do with a sprinkling of chill-wave or a smattering of Hypnogogic Pop. They didn’t listen, and did it their way. We all benefit.

I mean, look at the band. They could be Geography teachers. Maybe they are. Either way, songs like This Boat Is Going Nowhere Tonight, Son are rare scuzz-pop jewels to be savoured. Songs like this, of this quality, don’t often get made any more.

This Boat Is Going Nowhere Tonight, Son reveals not only a band whose vision is obscured by a grim drizzle that just won’t shift, but also a gift for sharp storytelling via explorative and cunning lyrics. The Wind-Up Birds aren’t for you, or me, they’re just for themselves – an outlet to rail against the world. It’s just that we’ve been let in on their secret, and that same world is all the better for it.

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